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First Look at the Seattle Kraken Roster for Fantasy

Hello everyone and welcome in for another article. In this one I’m going to break down the recently revealed Seattle Kraken roster and talk about potential fantasy implications for the players selected. I want to take a second to invite you to join the Apples & Ginos Discord server where I would be more than happy to answer any questions you have about Ron Francis’s expansion draft strategy, flat earth theories, or anything else that is unequivocally stupid.

Before we dive into the specifics, let’s take a look at what the roster looks like as of now:

LWCRW
BlackwellGourdeEberle
TanevMcCannDonskoi
BastianJarnkrokAppleton
TrueGeekieLind
TwarynskiQuenneville
LDRDG
GiordanoLarssonDriedger
OleksiakDunnVanecek
LauzonH FleuryD’Accord
SoucyCholowski
MacDermidC Fleury
BayreutherBorgen
Seattle Kraken Projected Roster

It goes without saying that the Kraken have a ton of cap space left to work with ($30.7 million according to CapFriendly). It wouldn’t shock me if they made a bit of a splash for a Gabriel Landeskog, but I think it’s almost a foregone conclusion that they look for a cheap top-six forward or two on a two or three year deal. Kyle Palmieri, Brandon Saad, Jaden Schwartz, Tomas Tatar, Paul Stastny, Mike Hoffman… the options are certainly there. I don’t think there’s a ton of value in projecting the Seattle power play until we see who they pick up in free agency, but as of now I would expect a Gourde-McCann-Eberle-Donskoi-Dunn unit to be the Kraken’s best option.

While on the topic of the power play, I do expect coach Dave Hakstol to run a clear top power play unit. In his last head coaching stint in Philadelphia, he ran a Giroux/Couturier/Voracek/Simmonds/Gostisbehere unit at an average of 64% of Philly’s total PP time. It’s possible that Seattle’s offensive options are less clear cut than that Flyer team, but whoever is on the top PP should be in line for a lion’s share of the work.

One interesting point is that I do think Seattle is mostly done on defense: the top four looks set with Giordano/Larsson and Oleksiak/Dunn as the probable pairings. I am very bullish on Dunn’s opportunity to break out as the top scoring defenseman in Seattle. It makes way too much sense to have Giordano/Larsson (or even Oleksiak/Larsson) eat the toughest 5v5 minutes and let Dunn eat against secondary competition and on the top power play unit. Dunn had a pretty abysmal season this year but with all the weird stuff coming out of St. Louis lately I’m fairly confident that not many players could have had a truly great season there this year and that Dunn will bounce back given the opportunity.

I’m also cautiously optimistic about Jordan Eberle’s role on the team. I don’t see a scenario where the Kraken took on the 31-year-old Eberle’s $5.5 million salary for the next three years without intending to use him on the top line and top power play. Given how obviously the Kraken avoided taking on big contracts elsewhere, Eberle seems to be a big part of the Kraken’s plans for the next couple of years at least. His upside for fantasy will be determined by who Seattle is able to surround him with in free agency. Eberle’s 50-60 point pace from the past few seasons on the Islanders should still hold unless Seattle truly eschews acquiring any proven top six talent via free agency.

I see a pretty solid opportunity for Jared McCann to reprise his 2021 power play efficiency on Seattle as a shooter. I’m not sure he’ll replicate that monstrous 33% power play shooting percentage, but the top unit power play opportunity will likely be there and Eberle is a capable playmaker. I’d give McCann better than a 50/50 chance to reach 25 goals in an 82-game season.

Similarly, Yanni Gourde could be in line for huge uptick in workload from the 17:04 average time on ice he skated for Tampa Bay in 2021. Gourde will miss the first couple of months of the season, but once he returns he will clearly be the top center on the team. 20 minutes a night is certainly not out of the realm of possibility, and even given the lack of top end talent around him, with the extra time on ice he could improve on the 53-point-pace he posted for the Lightning this year.

Second overall pick Matthew Beniers is currently expected to return to Michigan for a sophomore season, but I do believe he’ll be in Seattle the following season full time. I don’t have major expectations out of Beniers offensively but he would instantly become one of the Kraken’s best offensive players if he changed his mind and elected to turn pro this year.

I’d also keep an eye out for Mason Appleton, who has impressed in spurts in Winnipeg when given an opportunity to play up the lineup. If there is a fantasy sleeper lurking in the depths in Seattle, I’d have to bet on that Kraken being Appleton.

It has to be said that this Seattle team is going to be a go-to haven for bangers league streamers. From the forwards, Tanev and Bastian in particular love to throw the body around, and among the defensemen Larsson and Oleksiak (and to a lesser extent Lauzon) are reliable hits/blocks streamers any given week.

Furthermore I think Seattle actually has a solid chance to be an above average defensive team. On D the top 4 is solid and several of their forward selections have strong defensive components to their game. If Chris Driedger doesn’t go all Scott Darling on us, he has a very strong possibility of becoming an above average fantasy netminder. He could certainly be a late round target at goalie for anyone employing the Zero-G draft strategy I’ve been pushing on people for a while now. If Driedger does falter, Vitek Vanecek could be just as interesting as he was to fantasy managers in Washington this past season.

In summary, I think there is certainly fantasy value to be found on the Kraken roster, and while it may be more of the streaming variety rather than the draft-and-hold type, fantasy managers should not dismiss Seattle players simply because of the nature of their team. We need not look too far in the past to see how Vegas had multiple breakouts from players in their inaugural season and envision how that could happen again for this Kraken squad.

That’s all for this one folks! Make sure you follow Apples & Ginos on Twitter, on TikTok, or join the Apples & Ginos Discord server for more content and to ask any fantasy hockey questions you may have.

Thanks for reading, you are appreciated!

Nate

Title photo credit: Alika Jenner – Getty Images

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Published by Apples & Ginos

Apples & Ginos Fantasy Hockey Advice

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